Many of you will know that I was pretty much Born Dancin', but what many of you may not realise is that I have never felt dancing to really be a part of me. The name Born Dancin' is a lie. I came to dance late, awkwardly, often reluctantly and lacking in natural talent. Also, I was not born, but was instead hatched; this is of no import here.
But in my late teens I was witness to a fairly minor dance show showcasing the talents of a few Melbourne Uni students; thinking back, I have no idea why I was there, but I found it an incredibly energising experience. I'd often gone dancing at clubs and the like, and found it really enjoyable in a self-conscious way, but never really felt right because of that ever-present eye I projected out across the room, watching and judging me. And I guess I felt that a lot of other people were just as self-aware. My first experience of an actual contemporary dance show keyed me in on the kind of dance where a trained, able performer could simply move without those walls being put up, and I loved it.
Watching dancers at the peak of their game can be fantastic for this reason. There's still a certain level of self-consciousness in a lot of performers, but when that doesn't appear to be a factor you can find yourself enjoying something that's all too rare in today's daily experience, which seems to me to be a very mannered and image-aware one. Of course, in itself, unself-consciousness probably isn't enough to make a dance piece much chop. But it helps. And then again, no amount of talent is going to make the pleasure of watching a completely uninhibited grandpa or six year-old cousin jiving at Christmas time any more innocently pleasing than it already is.
There's lots I could say about Sydney Dance Company's The Director's Cut, but to be honest, it didn't really engage me the way I'd hoped. I had the same experience at the company's Underland a few years ago: I felt I should have been enjoying what I was watching more than I did (and that show was based on Nick Cave songs fer cryin' out loud - it should have been a surefire winner for even a non-NC fan like me). I won't go into my misgivings over the new show, however, since it was a) overall a good evening and I probably just wasn't in the right headspace and b) I'm not really in the blog-reviewing mode right now, having had quite an emotionally rough few weeks, to put it politely.
But it's for that very same reason that I'm going to begin a week of posting the kind of dancing that makes me smile. In a non-ironic, what-a-fool-you-are kind of way. No, in a you-get-down-and-shake-that-thing-any-way-you-need-to way. Because really, if we could all do a bit of this, I think the world would be a happier place (with less of the hatings and bang-bang-you're-dead stuff).
Take it away, Jean-Claude.